Published: Wed, January 22, 2014
By JM Agreda
The leader of the notorious acetylene gang that has been ransacking pawnshops and banks in the Metro Manila and Luzon provinces was collared in Baguio City by the a composite law enforcement team.
Chief Supt Isagani Nerez, the Cordillera Police Regional Director, presented on Tuesday the alleged gang leader, identified as Julio Bedking, of Bengao Road, Bakakeng Central, Baguio City.
Bedking, who uses the aliases of James Bastin and Bill Gonzales, was arrested by a composite team from the Regional Intelligence Division of the Cordillera Police Regional Office; Baguio City Police Office; CIDG PRO-Cordillera; San Fernando City, Pampanga Police Office; Southern Police District CIDG; Quezon City NCR CIDG; Quezon City Police District; and elements of the Anti-Kidnapping Group.
Bedking was previously jailed at the San Fernando City Jail but posted bail after he was arrested with two other gang members for attempted robbery of a pawnshop on the early morning of January 1.
His most recent arrest was by virtue of a warrant issued by the Regional Trial Court in Caloocan City.
The identity of Bedking, long the subject of police manhunt for his involvement in many pawnshop heists in many parts of the country, was unravelled PRO-Cordillera operatives received information that he has been using different aliases during his 14 years as a member and leader of the criminal organization, the Acetylene Gang, which digs tunnels leading to the premises of target pawnshops and banks.
Police ascertained his identity only after validating his photos with his associates, but the big break came when police arrested another alleged member of the group, identified as Teddy Castro, at Resorts World and Casino in Pasay City over the weekend.
It was Castro who informed police that it was Bedking, the alleged leader of the group, was in the San Fernando City Jail in Pampanga for attempted robbery on New Year’s Day.
Nerez said the arrest of Julio Bedking and Teddy Castro was the result of cooperation by all concerned police units and agencies and a product of weeks of investigation and intelligence gathering.
But he stressed that the suspect may be granted temporary liberty in court as robbery is a bailable offense, adding that a revision of existing criminal laws and further investigation and filing of additional cases against the suspect is important in ensuring his stay in jail.
Nerez disclosed that eight alleged acetylene gang members were also arrested at the vicinity of Ochoa Pawnshop along Villiongco Street in Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City.
Taken in in the police operation on Monday were Cecille Ibanez of Lumbangan, Negros Oriental; Ortiz Latungan of La Trinidad, Benguet; Eric Sectang of La Trinidad, Benguet; Arthur Bino of Buguias, Benguet; Clarence Dayao, of La Trinidad, Benguet; Tarex Tayaban of Itogon, Benguet; Ruben Sebnangen and Elmo Bustarde of Tadian, Mt. Province.